53. Truk – MIBS

53.  Truk – Micronesian Institute of Biblical Studies

Finally, we got our flight to Truk, landing at Moen, the major island of Truk.  Truk Lagoon is a sheltered body of water in the central Pacific located mid-ocean.  The atoll consists of a protective reef 140 miles around.  The atoll consists of seven major islands, forty-six small ones inside the lagoon, and forty-one islands on the fringe of coral reefs.

We were met by a German couple with Liebenzell, who would be our hosts until we could take the weekly supply boat to Tol, the largest inner island, where MIBS, the Micronesian Institute of Biblical Studies was located.  The supply boat was a small power boat belonging to the school, and we had a high speed, rough damp ride 20 miles across the lagoon to Tol.

Tol is a high island about 3 miles long, and 1200 ft high at the central mountain.  MIBS was a 4 year college for church lay leaders.  Isolated at the base of the mountain, and set on a bay in palms and jungle, the terrain was rough, beautiful and quiet.  No cars, (no roads) no phone, no electricity during the day.  Down a path into the jungle, there was a small village of makeshift tin buildings.

The campus had a chapel and 3 main buildings: a monstrous cement men’s dorm; a two story multipurpose building with dining room downstairs, and a library, office, conference room, and faculty apartment upstairs.  Down a hill, there was another two story building with girls dorm and faculty apartment upstairs, and two classrooms downstairs.

Betty and I stayed in the apartment by the girls dorm with our hosts long time missionaries Wayne and Doris.  I slept on a single spring bed.  Betty slept on top of a big packing crate.  There was a two burner kerosene stove and kerosene refrigerator.  The school generator came on at night for two hours so students could study.  Daytime temperature was a humid 86 degrees, and plummeted at night to 84 degrees.

Water off the roof was caught for drinking and cooking.  I stepped into a shower stall, soaped up, and then Betty dumped a bucket of cold water on me to rinse.  A small stream gurgled close by the building, and the girls brought their clothes and pounded them clean with rocks from the stream.

The Lord provided plenty of good food…sometimes with delightful timing as we were sitting down to eat…. cooked taro and bananas, fish, sweet potatoes, fruit, papaya, and guavas; plus the dehydrated food we took with us.  We also sprouted some alfalfa for salads.

We experienced a fabulous up-lifting total Christian environment. Daily chapels, bible study, devotions and prayer together with the missionaries and students brought us more in touch with God than I can recall being in a long time.

Beautiful place.  Wonderful people.  But I was in trouble.  As soon as we got off the boat, I was wobbly, and had to be helped up the hill to the campus.  Our host got me a mop handle to maintain my balance.  My allergies started acting up.  Our accommodations were downwind from the nighttime generator, and my throat swelled from the diesel smoke until I couldn’t talk.

Because I wasn’t talking, the students were bewildered, and wondered if I was unfriendly.  I felt I was failing and defeated because I could not do what I thought I was there for.

I grabbed an old book from Wayne’s shelf and went up in the thick trees behind the men’s dorm to read and pray.  The book was In the Arena, the autobiography of a missionary with Inland China Mission at the beginning of WWII when Japan invaded China.  The story in her book taught me a lesson about how God works, and I felt encouraged.

I prayed to God for help, and asked “God, please protect me from the diesel smoke.”

There is the setting and the situation.

To learn how God answered my prayer, come back next week.